SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Shares of the following companies were among those making notable moves in the U.S. stock market Tuesday.
Altria Group Inc. /zigman2/quotes/208895754/composite MO +1.49% shares were higher. It affirmed its expectations for 2008 per-share earnings from continuing operations growth of 9% to 11% from an adjusted base of $1.50. The New York holding company forecast a longer-term total annual shareholder return of more than 12% when combined with the dividend, per-share earnings growth of 8% to 10% and about $1 billion in annual cost savings.
Shares of Elbit Systems Ltd., /zigman2/quotes/204584989/composite ESLT -0.44% the Haifa, Israel, defense contractor, jumped 9.3%. It reported fourth-quarter net income rose 33% on 27% higher revenue. The order backlog at Dec. 31 was $4.62 billion, up 22% from $3.79 billion at the end of 2006. The quarter's results reflected $10 million of expense as Elbit wrote off investments in auction-rate securities, "which were rated AAA or AA when acquired," Elbit said.
Foot Locker Inc. /zigman2/quotes/204092533/composite FL +1.93% shares rose. It reported fourth-quarter profit of $87 million, or 56 cents a share, down from $95 million, or 61 cents. The year-earlier figure included an impairment charge of 10 cents a share. Revenue fell to $1.48 billion from $1.56 billion. Analysts had estimated earnings of 42 cents a share on revenue of $1.48 billion.
Google Inc. /zigman2/quotes/205453964/composite GOOG -0.37% shares rose 3.5%. It landed the approval of European regulators Tuesday, clearing the way for the company's acquisition of online advertising provider DoubleClick. See full story.
Shares of Global Sources Ltd., the New York provider of media and marketing services to facilitate trade with China and other countries, advanced 8.4%. It reported fourth-quarter net income fell 47% as revenue rose 16%. For the first quarter, GSOL estimates net of 15 cents to 16 cents a share, adjusted profit of 11 cents to 12 cents, and revenue up 13% to 15%, to $39.5 million to $40 million.
Hovnanian /zigman2/quotes/203952761/composite HOV -3.42% shares rose 7.7%. The home builder's chief executive, Ara Hovnanian, said he can't say the housing market has hit bottom yet and is ready for a recovery. Although builders continue to use incentives to attract buyers, in the past few weeks sales have been better than expected and he hopes for more interest-rate cuts from the Federal Reserve next week, he told CNBC.
Inter Parfums Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202027190/composite IPAR +2.28% shares soared 20%. Fourth-quarter profit was 41 cents a share, while analysts estimated 34 cents. Revenue rose to $119.4 million from $90.2 million. The company expects 2008 net income of $1.25 a share on sales of $442 million; analysts expect $1.48 a share on sales of $363.7 million.
Kroger Co. /zigman2/quotes/206215053/composite KR +0.60% rose. Fourth-quarter earnings fell to $322.9 million, or 48 cents a share, from the year-earlier $384.8 million, or 54 cents a share. On average, analysts polled by FactSet expected earnings of 47 cents a share. The Cincinnati supermarket chain said sales for the quarter ended Feb. 2 rose to $17.2 billion from $16.9 billion a year earlier. Sales in supermarkets open at least a year increased 8.2% including fuel and 5.3% without fuel. See full story.
Shares of LHC Group Inc., /zigman2/quotes/207684916/composite LHCG +1.64% the Lafayette, La., provider of post-acute health-care services, moved up. It adopted a so-called poison-pill measure designed to deter a hostile takeover. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Keith G. Myers said in a statement late on Monday that the plan was not adopted as a response to a specific takeover proposal.
Shares of Massbank, the Reading, Mass., banking company, were higher. It definitively agreed to be acquired for $40 a share, or $170 million, by Eastern Bank, the companies said late on Monday. Eastern Bank is the Boston mutual banking firm. Massbank shares closed at $38 on Monday, indicating that Eastern Bank is paying a 5.3% premium for the shares.
Shares of Stage Stores Inc., the Houston retailer, jumped 11%. It reported fiscal fourth-quarter net income fell 20% on 3.7% lower total sales and 3.1% lower comparable-store sales. For the fiscal first quarter, Stage Stores expects to earn 13 cents to 16 cents a share, compared with 20 cents a year earlier. Revenue should reach $360 million to $367 million from the year-ago $358.2 million.
Schering-Plough Corp. shares were higher. It filed a New Drug Application with the Food and Drug Administration for Zegerid as a branded over-the-counter treatment for frequent heartburn. The Kenilworth, N.J., health care company said the application was submitted under the terms of a license agreement with Santarus Inc., the San Diego specialty pharmaceutical company.
Thornburg Mortgage Inc. shares doubled. It on Tuesday filed an amended annual financial report with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and boosted its total impairment charge for 2007 to $676.6 million. "The company recognized this additional impairment charge in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles because it may not have the ability to hold certain of its securitized [adjustable-rate mortgage] loans to maturity," the firm said in a press release detailing the filing.
Timberland Co. shares rose. It added 6 million shares to its share-buyback plan. The company had 1 million shares remaining on its buyback authorization.
Vodafone Group /zigman2/quotes/202862751/composite VOD -0.06% shares gained 3.1%. It on Tuesday after Goldman Sachs analysts said the stock may be oversold. Citigroup also reiterated a buy rating on the firm, saying it should benefit from cost changes, currency and India.